Action Heroine (Or Not)

I was innocently turning my key in the lock on Sunday evening when I felt something give. Expecting the door to be unlocked, I gave it a push and when there was still resistance, looked down to see that rather than open the door, I had snapped my key in half.
One of the unfortunate consequences of working the evening shift is that by the time you get off of work, all the people who can fix this sort of situation have already gone home. Somewhat despairingly, I retraced my steps and returned to the restaurant, knowing that there, at least, would be other awake and functional humans who might have some ideas for solving the problem.
My sous-chef immediately suggested climbing in the window, so I turned around and traveled back to employee housing. (In the moment I was just happy that someone knew how I could access my bed. On reflection, I’m not sure how comforting the readiness of the answer should be.) It was easy enough to step through the shrubs lining the side of the house and then to pop a window screen out and leave a space large enough for myself to crawl through. This is possibly due to years of being taught by my parents that window entry is an acceptable substitute for carrying a key.
The next bit was somewhat trickier. Most of my previous window entries have been performed either by a brick wall – easy to get toeholds, by planter boxes – easy to step up on, or at basement level – no climbing involved. My room here, however, has a flat wall, a window-sill higher than my reach could easily manage, and no nearby ledges. After a few abortive attempts to swing a leg up, I discovered that I could pop the screen on the other window out as well and use the central bar as a post to hang from as I walked up the side of the house. Safely inside, I dusted myself off and went to bed, leaving the broken key as an issue for the morning.
Down at the shed, I left my broken key and explanation and was assured that someone would come by to fix it. Finally, at 1:30 p.m., just as I was getting ready to leave for work, a repair man came, removed the bolt/lock from the door and disappeared. When I returned, I was able to get in quite easily, because my door still had no bolt and as mentioned previously, never had a doorknob. Tuesday and Wednesday, I went to work, wedging my door shut with a scrap of polar fleece only to return and find the same hole in the door. Besides the fact that the door does not easily remain shut and I have no true wedge to help it do so, I was rather discomfited by the fact that the removal of the lock left a hole large enough to see through quite easily. As I have said, my door opens immediately onto the public laundry area and fridge and freezer. Convenient at most times, but without a solid barrier, it felt rather too open.
Fortunately, the repairman stopped by again this afternoon and replaced the lock and handed me a fresh key. More than this, I learned that we have no doorknobs because they are afraid that we will lock ourselves out and decide that the best solution to the problem is to kick the door down. Sadly, this had not occurred to me as a method on Sunday night and now I have no excuse to try it. On the other hand, it would likely be easier right now, because when replacing the lock, the repairman carried away the metal plate that is the door frame half of the lock. He’ll probably be back in a few days, once I’ve gotten accustomed to the gentle knocking sounds the loosely secured door now regularly makes.


View more posts from this author